A journey worth remembering – two years at practo

practo by heart

Finished MBA and got selected in Infosys from campus and I was back to Udaipur in the month of April’15 gearing up for my sister’s marriage.  During my discussions with all my friends in another grad school, Infosys was not looking like a place where I wanted to be. I then decided to reach out my network to look out for something else.  The network is one of the most important things I earned during my stay at Nirma.

Hence, I reached out to multiple people including alumni’s, corporates and my friends in other B-Schools. This happened on 19th April 2015. Then I got busy in marriage and had a lot of fun with family after a long time, as we were getting together after a long time. It didn’t last long and we had a dent in our life which no one could repair. My grandfather left us on the very next day of marriage functions. That was the day I receive a call from Siddhartha asking me if I am interested in a role in COO’s office at a start-up. My first thought was what will be my work. He told that I don’t have a JD for you as this role is new. But this is an awesome start-up and the role will give you a lot of exposure as you will be directly working with top management. I discussed with my chacha and other cousins. All were skeptical and told me not to go for it. I thought, what can be the possible harm as my joining at Infosys was in August and if I don’t like the role I would leave anyway. I told Siddhartha to send my CV, who was then working with practo as an HR consultant.

I had my 2-3 rounds with COO of the company and was finally selected on 29th April 2015. I was asked to join on 4th of May 2015. The first day at the company I reach and no one there has a clue that I am hired. I was told to sit on reception, I started getting Goosebumps. Then I was asked all the information, by that time COO came and I was inducted in 30 min in his office and right away started to work. While I could see, my peers having induction and training I didn’t have any of those. Thus, an epic roller coaster ride started at practo.

My first role at practo was to help COO in all his work. I had to do a lot of research and study on various topics ranging from new technology in healthcare, investors, business models, marketing tactics, and a lot more. My days would go just in reading and present but this was very challenging as I was getting to learn a lot of new things and meeting a lot of people. This was on for first 2 months. I started liking my work and I decided not to go for Infosys. It was this time that I was asked to take on a sales study. Basically, I had to become a sales manager and do sales of all practo products to understand the loopholes in the process and help the team to build process around it. This continued for another 2-3 months. During the same time, I got involved with Sales BI team and started working on a basic churn predictor model. This was an awesome experience.

6 months down the line COO was going on a foreign visit and told me that he doesn’t have any work for me for next 20 days. During the same time, Opx (Operations Excellence) Department was announced. I was then asked to help the head of Opx in Operations function. I never thought that working in Opx will change my life professionally but now when I look back I am thankful to people who put me there.

We were a 2-member team in Opx and soon we started various projects to the first map and then the optimize the workflow of different teams in operations. Practo’s operations are quite complex in nature because it serves multiple segments and has a different set of offerings for the different target group. Slowly one after other we work on process optimizations, metric management, work force management etc. This was the most exciting time as we wrote the bible for practice operations which was called practo’s way of user experience. During the same time, Opx team was getting build. This continued for 3 months and we achieved a lot as a team. It was at the same time I completed a year in practo. I was then given an opportunity to build BI function at operations from scratch. I was joined by two more awesome people ready to take on any challenge. We build the reporting system for operations first on excel and then on Tableau and Periscope. The start was rough but as of today everyone refers to the dashboards we built over a period of 6-8 months. During the same time, there were a lot of projects running centrally and I was part of many of them. Managing the launch of internal tools, managing data at large scale etc. were some of them.

All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. So, we had a lot of fun as well. We used to go for party every alternate weekend and one trek a month. We started from Kumaraparvat and then scaled Maklidurga, Mullyangiri etc. This had become a norm for us. There were a lot of ideas we would brainstorm while on trek and experiment on other weekends. One such was a bucket list experiment. I still remember how fun it was.

There were times when we were in office for like 3 days straight working on things, eating and having fun. These set of people are one of the most awesome team I have worked with till now. We also took part in various hackathons and won one of them. It was again very exciting. When you work with the hardworking and intelligent set of people you gain a lot personally and professionally and this is what had happened with me at practo.

During the same time, practo was also going through radical changes and I was then given the opportunity to work with the frontline team and make them successful. I worked with them for 3 months. These people are so full of energy and always ready to give their 100%. We just made some ground rules and made sure we have each other’s back. The performance increased by 20% month on month. And all this because of the team and their hard work.

My 2.2 years at practo is one of the best times I ever had in my life. Learned and implemented a lot of things personally and professionally. These memories are for a lifetime and will always stay with me. I had to part ways because of some personal reasons but I would love to be back and work with some of the great minds.

Special thanks to Amal Sir, Mohan Sir, Paharia, Pradip, Deepesh, Vipin, Pavan, Sid and My team for making my stay at practo a journey worth remembering.

Practeon by heart always.

#do-great

Some life hacks that I have used

life hacksLife is full of hacks and lazy people are the one who finds most of it. Life hacks save us a lot of time, effort, and money. Some life hacks that I have used in my day to day life are shared below. Please share if you have something to add.

  • Use a wet towel to clear the smoke out of your room. Spin It in all directions using your hand. Don’t switch on the fan. It will take more time and will irritate you.
  • I was reading an article and got across this that you can call yourself Time’s 2006 person of the year on your resume/CV. In 2006, Time made “Everyone” the person of the year. Use it to show how smart you are.
  • When were we Buying a car? I purposely got it delayed and bought it at the end of the month. Salespeople have quotas to meet each month and will be more likely for you to get a deal. I got the seat cover for free. Though it is a small thing what’s the harm in it.
  • I used the following on my friends mobile. Download the Apple free app of the week, even if you don’t need it! You can delete it and re-download in “recently purchased” when you want. This way you can use it for free.
  • I recently bought a .edu domain and created 5 email address on a shared hosting space. I then bought 5 Amazon Prime acct. and sold it to peers. This lets you watch almost unlimited TV/Movies.
  • My sister used to do it. Putting your fingers in ice water immediately after painting your nails the paint will dry instantly and YaY you are ready for the party.
  • If your clothes shrink too small? Soak them in a mixture of hot water and hair conditioner for 5 minutes, to unshrink them. This really works. Try it now.
  • Want to have some good dreams (*wink*). Drink tons of apple juice before you go to bed. A chemical compound in the juice will help you to have vivid awesome dreams!
  • If you ask for unsalted French Fries at McDonald’s they’ll make a fresh batch for you and then at the end ask them to put salt and here you have fresh fries.
  • When buying something online only read the reviews that gave it 3 stars—they’re usually the most honest about pros and cons. This has a 99% accuracy. Have helped me a lot of time to take the right decision.